Greece Has Reopened Its Borders To Foreign Visitors
Last Updated: April 19, 2021
As of July 1st, 2020, Greece has officially reopened its borders to some foreign visitors. This comes after other European nations have opened their borders to certain nations in their “safe travel” list.
The Greek government has taken effective measures to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic and is now gradually lifting the restrictions created to halt the spread of coronavirus in the country.
Tourism accounts for about a quarter of Greece’s economy. Thus, Greek authorities would like to invite visitors back into the country while ensuring the safety of everybody.
Which Countries Can Travel to Greece?
All flights to Greece have resumed, except those countries where a high number of Covid-19 transmissions have been recorded. International airports have opened, including the regional airports on Mykonos, Rhodes, and Kos.
Travelers from the UK and Sweden will only be allowed to enter the country by July 15. There will be no quarantine restrictions. However, before boarding, all travelers must fill out an online form and must be willing to submit themselves for the Covid-19 test upon arrival, which is done at random.
Starting August 17, the Greek authorities will require all visitors from Belgium, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Bulgaria, Malta, Romania, and the United Arab Emirates, as well as all persons entering via a land border, to produce proof of having tested negative for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) using a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test within 72 hours prior to arrival.
Countries which require a COVID-19 PCR Test taken at most 72 hours prior to arrival:
Arrivals by sea are now allowed and the Patras and Igoumenitsa ports will again be welcoming ferries from Italy. Land border arrivals from Turkey, North Macedonia, and Albania are only applicable for essential travels.
September 7 update: Starting September 7, Greece will reopen its borders to Russian tourists. However, they will only allow up to 500 tourists each week. They are also required to submit a negative COVID-19 certificate issued no more than 72 hours before entry.
October 6 update: Starting October 3rd, passengers traveling to Greece by air from Poland will be required to submit a negative Covid-19 test taken up to 72 hours before their arrival. Furthermore, the suspension of flights between Greece and Turkey will be extended until Oct. 12.
April 2021 update: Beginning around the last week of April, travelers from the European Union and the United States will be permitted to enter the country as per one of the officials of the ministry of tourism. Visitors from these countries along with those coming from the UAE, U.K., Serbia, and Israel may also travel to Greece soon. In addition, the country will open to all travelers under the regular visa requirements on May 14.
What Are the Rules for Visiting Greece?
Visitors must be aware of the potential risks when travelling to Greece in the midst of a global pandemic. All tourists must follow the rules set by health authorities to ensure their safety.
- Wash your hands frequently or use sanitizer.
- Cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing.
- Avoid contact with people who are showing symptoms of respiratory problems.
- Postpone your trip if you have a fever and other respiratory symptoms, such as shortness of breath and cough.
- Maintain social distancing of at least 1 meter between other tourists.
- Avoid handshaking, kissing, or hugging when greeting someone.
- Wear a facemask when visiting public places.
All travelers to Greece must be prepared for the possibility that additional restrictions might be put in place by the Greek government with little or no advance notice.
Will Citizens from the US and Canada be allowed to enter Greece?
Canada is among those non-EU countries that are permitted to enter Greece. There is no projected date yet on when the citizens of the United States will be allowed to enter since the infection rate in the country remains high. However, there are people who were exempted from the travel ban and these include spouses and children of EU/Schengen nationals, long-term EU residents, passengers in transit, members of government delegations, and healthcare professionals and researchers that support the Hellenic National Healthcare System.
Latest Update as of April 17, 2021: Citizens and travelers from the United States will be allowed entry starting next week with the same requirements as tourists from other countries of origin.
What’s Open in Greece?
Archaeological sites in Greece will be operating on extended summer hours, from 8 AM to 8 PM, to prevent overcrowding. To maintain social distancing, only a limited number of visitors will be allowed to enter at every site. There are demarcations at the entrances and exits and Plexiglas screens are installed at some sites, such as in Propylaea on the Acropolis. All visitors are required to wear protective masks, and carrying of alcohol-based sanitizers onsite is highly encouraged.
Beaches are open as well, but only 40 people will be allowed in every 1,000 square meters. An entrance/exit count is being carried out to ensure that this measure is being followed. Umbrellas must be four meters away from each other and each umbrella can only provide shade for a maximum of two loungers. But this rule will not apply to families with kids.
Beach bars can serve food items and beverages in a package and take-away services are highly encouraged. Alcohol can be sold but must not be served to customers inside the bar to prevent the gathering of large crowd.
When shopping in Greece, you may have to wait a few minutes before you enter the shops. Smaller shops that are about 20 square meters in size must only accommodate 4 people at a time. Bigger stores that are more than 100 square meters can welcome up to 12 shoppers at a time. Employees and customers should maintain a distance of at least 1.5 meters away from each other while inside the store premises. There are also markings on the floor to maintain safe distances when queuing.
All establishments have information signs that will remind people to follow safety measures and hygiene rules. Customers are encouraged to pay electronically and there are sanitizer gels beside every cash register.
Indoor and outdoor seating areas are now permitted at all restaurants across the country. Servers are wearing facemasks and a minimum distance of 70cm to 170cm is maintained in every table. However, these restrictions will not apply to families with kids.
Have Flights Resumed to Greece?
All direct international flights have been permitted to land in Greece since July 1st, allowing tourists to fly directly into the country. Aegean Airlines, Greece’s leading air carrier, has implemented health protocols for the safety of its passengers, including contactless passport checks at boarding gates. In the coming days, the airline will draw up a flight schedule and is expected to fly to 42 destinations around the world from Athens.
What To Expect At the Airport?
Wearing facemasks is mandatory at Athens International Airport. The mask must be put on throughout the passenger’s stay at the airport, from checking in to boarding. Passengers might be asked to temporarily remove the mask during security procedures and identity checks.
The airport has hand sanitizer dispensers all over the place. Plexiglas panels were installed for added protection on areas where employee interaction is necessary, such as in the information counters and ticket desks.
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